McDonald’s has looked for ways to “beef up” sales in recent years, with efforts that have included offering all-beef patties on their menu, made from fresh beef. And, chicken, without antibiotics, used in their food products.
Most recently, the company has embraced the stripping of artificial ingredients from more food which is intended to win over customers who choose not to eat foods that contain preservatives. Calcium propionate and sodium benzoate have traditionally been used to preserve baked goods – check your loaf of whole wheat/multi-grain bread to confirm. These are ingredients that prevent baked goods from molding or going stale quickly when kept unrefrigerated. In response to concerned customers, preservative ingredients are now gone from the buns, cheese and sauces used on McDonald’s famous burgers. Chris Kempeczinski, President of McDonald’s USA, has said, “This is really meant to serve as another proof point of what we’re doing at McDonald’s to enhance the quality of food. We hope that it’s the cumulative impact of all the changes we’ve been making that will move perception.” The practical side of things is that shelf life of bread and cheese will be reduced, necessitating additional refrigeration space in the restaurants. Pickles, however, remain the ultimate challenge. To date, there are no pickles without preservatives, because it’s the preservatives that provide the sour taste that we identify with pickles. Thus, pickles that meet the taste challenge will likely take a while. For those pure foods aficionados, you’ll need to remove your pickles from your Big Macs – otherwise, you’re “good to go.”